I’m about to leave in a couple days for the second nomadic home stay. I’m currently trying to register for courses and am recovering from my first wrestling practice. I just wrote a paper on information politics and now I’m sick of the subject but here are some interesting highlights.
Major ethnic groups place themselves politically and socially by their ancestor’s relationship with Chinggis Khan. As in, the Halh, who’s famous ancestor is Kublai Khan, consider themselves the rightful authorities. The Oirat who are claim Chinggis Khan’s mother as their ancestor believe they should not have political power because the Khan’s mother’s family does not inherit power and is merely given the duty of advising the true inheritors.
When the Soviet Union entered Mongolia and started talking Proletarian revolution, they ran into the problem that Mongolia was economically and politically different from what Marx had in mind. There was no class of industrial workers, no military caste, and the nobility were weak at best. The Soviets had to first redefine everyone, declaring herders the Proletariat and the Lamas their oppressive overlords. As Mongolia became industrialized there became a divide between the herders who didn’t really fit into Marxist philosophy and the newly created urban working class who did.
There was a period of three years, from 1921 to 1924 (or so) that is strongly contested in history books. During this time Mongolia was either independent, ruled by China, or controlled by the Soviet Union. It’s really hard to tell for certain because everyone wrote and rewrote their version of the period until no one really knows.
On the subject of information, here is something new in the world of information technology. http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2011/03/stuxnet-cybernetic-weapon-of-mass.html
Someone, possibly Israel or the US, made a virus that came blow up power plants. I’m currently in awe of the guys who made this, and that guy with the german accent who figured it out. Genius.
Keep in mind that pretty much everything with an operating system can be hacked. It was recently proven that a virus can hack a computerized car, such as a prius and disable breaks or other really bad things.
Some information about traveling in Mongolia.
Things that have been handy: imodium, all the headlamps (frequent power outages), pepto-bismal, computer, flash drive, GPS Spot Communicator, kindle
Things that would have been handy: peacoat (very popular here), cold medicine, cough medicine (pollution is killing me), kukri, jackets with more inside pockets (pickpockets are everywhere, apparently)